Dictionary of Oblate Values  vol.: 1  let.: E

EVANGELIZATION AND MISSION

"He has sent me to bring the Good News to the poor [...]. The Good News is proclaimed to the poor" (Luke 4:18; Matthew 11:5). This double Gospel expression makes up the motto inscribed on the coat of arms of the Congregation of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate and of its founder, Eugene de Mazenod. It highlights the missionary character of the Oblate charism and its primary activity. The Oblates find themselves reflected in it no matter how diverse their ministries might be.

The word mission has perhaps attained an even more common usage in the Institute. Indeed, it reflects the very name and the double ministry set forth by the Constitutions: parish missions and foreign missions.

The present study is divided into two parts: the first deals with the period of the Founder (nos. 1-6), the second with the period which followed his death.



AT THE TIME OF THE FOUNDER

1. ORIGINS OF THE CHARISM OF EVANGELIZATION

It was Eugene de Mazenod's personal experience that led him to discern the salvation needs of people. His years in Italy and his return to France after the Revolution helped him become aware of these needs, especially as they applied to poor people. Nothing could make him back off and as a young lay person he was committed. He worked among prisoners, taught catechism to the rural youth, took a stand against Jansenism, etc. His "conversion", one Good Friday, committed him to a new relationship with Christ and a new vision of the Church purchased at the cost of his blood. He was ready to leave everything behind to dedicate himself unconditionally to their service.

Subsequent to his formation at the seminary of Saint Sulpice in Paris during which he personally got to know the difficulties imposed upon the Pope and the Church, he returned to his native city of Aix-en-Provence and dedicated himself to an apostolate which was out of the ordinary. He preached to the poor, the workers, the domestic servants in a simple, solid and consistent way. He gathered together youth of all ages, offering them entertainment and Christian formation through the Association of the Christian Youth of Aix which he established.

The feverish apostolate of these three years made Abbé de Mazenod aware of the vastness of the needs he faced and the inadequacy of his personal response. Under the influence of an "impulse from the outside", he made the decision to establish a community together with a few priests to evangelize the forsaken rural population through the means of missions.

From the first documents dealing with the foundation, Eugene's intentions are clear. His letters to Abbé Henry Tempier and to the Vicars General of the diocese, the 1818 Rule, his personal recollections and those of his first companions give witness to this. He takes his starting point from the circumstances of his own need for salvation. To Abbé Tempier he wrote: "Dwell deeply on the plight of our country people, their religious situation, the apostasy that daily spreads wider with dreadfully ravaging effects. Look at the feebleness of the means employed to date to oppose this flood of evil."

[1]The request addressed to the Vicars General of Aix for authorization to set up a community in that city is in the same vein: "The undersigned priests: deeply moved by the deplorable situation of the small towns and villages of Provence that have almost completely lost the faith; knowing from experience that the callousness or indifference of these people renders the ordinary help supplied by your concern for their salvation insufficient and even useless [...]" [2].

As a solution, he proposes the preaching of parish missions. In doing this, he is following the recommendations of the Pope and the example of other dioceses in France, in particular, that of his seminary confrere, Charles de Forbin-Janson. To Abbé Tempier, he wrote: "Well, dear man, what I say to you, without going fully into details, is that you are necessary for the work which the Lord inspires us to undertake. Since the head of the Church is persuaded that, given the wretched state in which France finds herself, only missions can bring people back to the Faith which they have practically abandoned, good men of the Church from different dioceses are banding together in response to the views of our supreme Pastor. We likewise feel that it is utterly necessary to employ the same remedy in our regions and, full of confidence in the goodness of Providence, have laid down the foundations of an establishment which will steadily furnish our countryside with fervent missionaries. [3]" To the Vicars he wrote: "Convinced that missions are the only means by which these people who have gone astray can be brought out of their degradation [...] the Missionaries will [tour] the rural areas proclaiming the word of God" [4].

The analysis of the situation of the need for salvation and the desire to respond to this need by means of missions emerges even more strongly in the Preface of the Constitutions and Rules, considered as the charter for the missionary ideal of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. From the outset, Eugene de Mazenod proposed, not only a concrete missionary endeavor, but also a well defined and demanding community life style - an ideal of the missionary constantly devoted, not only to equip himself for his important ministry, but also to become a saint.

2. PARISH MISSIONS, THE PRIMARY END OF THE CONGREGATION

At the time of the founding of the Congregation, Eugene de Mazenod held the view that the preaching of parish missions was the most effective means to Christianize the rural areas of southern France in order to "rekindle the flame of faith that has all but died in the hearts of so many of her children... We must lead men to act like human beings, first of all, and then like Christians, and, finally, we must help them to become saints." [5]

In the note that he addressed to Mgr. Adinolfi, Under-Secretary of the Sacred Congregation of Bishops and Regulars, Eugene de Mazenod wrote: "Our Society works in towns, as you could notice from our Rules, and is engaged there in all sorts of good works, but its preference is to evangelize with all the zeal it can the poor who are abandoned... to spread the knowledge of Jesus Christ and to extend his spiritual kingdom in souls" [6].

In the Letter of Approbation of the Rules signed by Pope Leo XII, we read: "About eleven years have already passed since our predecessor, Pius VII [...] expressed the desire to see, in the wake of the storm of the Revolution, missionaries to bring the scattered sheep back to the right road of salvation. Meanwhile, to respond to this desire, a small group of priests was being formed in the diocese of Aix in the heart of the southern provinces of France with the purpose of devoting themselves to this ministry [...]."

"Now, this Congregation has set for itself a variety of goals, the first and most essential of which is that its members, bound by vows [...] should dedicate themselves especially to the holy exercise of missions, taking as their priority for the focus of their zeal the countryside devoid of spiritual assistance, and in their preaching, using the local dialect. In addition, this Society sets as its goal to be of assistance to the clergy, either by taking on the running of seminaries [...] or in making themselves always available to parish priests and other pastors to work for the reforming of morals by means of preaching and other spiritual exercises. Also, it devotes all its care and solicitude to the youth, this chosen portion of the Christian people, which it gathers in pious groups in order to hold at bay the seductions of the world. Finally, it administers the sacraments and distributes the Word of God to prisoners [...]. [7]"

The pontifical Letter of Approbation, certainly written with the suggestions of the Founder [8], mentions the various ends of the Institute: parish missions, assistance to the clergy, youth ministry, care of prisoners. Parish missions are presented as the primary reason for the founding of the Congregation and its main purpose.

a. Involvement in parish missions

This giving of priority to parish missions was included in the first Rule of 1818 and in the approved edition in 1826 without it being understood as an exclusive ministry [9]. From 1816 to 1861, the Oblates preached some 3,000 parish missions and retreats [10]. At the time of the Founder, they constituted the main ministry of the Oblates in Eastern Canada. The first year, at least fourteen parishes had the benefit of being ministered to by the first group. From 1842 on, the Oblates preached parish missions in the United States, traveling from their Canadian base in Longueuil. From 1856 to 1862, under the leadership of Father Édouard Chevalier, the Oblates from Buffalo preached 108 parish missions or retreats, speaking to the immigrants of Irish or French-Canadian extraction.

Preaching as it was conducted in parish missions served as a model for all the other forms of ministry. Thus it was that the evangelization of the Amerindians of Canada was carried out according to this method. These were still a nomadic people. Consequently, the Oblates evangelized them in the places and the times of their general gatherings, giving them continuous instruction. The ministry to the lumber men in the bush camps also drew its inspiration from this method. In Texas, the parishes they accepted to take care of the Mexican people were considered as permanent missions and centers for the spread of evangelization. In a special way, the presence of Oblates at Marian shrines offered the possibility of going out to preach missions in the local area. At the same time, while receiving pilgrims they could prepare them for the preaching of missions, or deepen the results of missions already preached.

Throughout his life, the Founder insisted on the importance and effectiveness of parish missions. Father Alfred Yenveux dedicated 144 pages of his commentary on the Rule to recording the many things the Founder said on this matter [11].

b. The purpose and format of these missions

Eugene de Mazenod chose parish missions as the primary means to evangelize the most abandoned souls, those with whom ordinary ministry would have the least contact. His goal was to lead them to a knowledge of Jesus Christ and to extend his kingdom in them, to lead them back to the Church and to Christian living by instructing them on the fundamental truths of the faith and its concrete demands. The missions entailed a rather long and intense period of preaching which led to a Christian transformation of morals [12]. Their object was not only to instruct, but to convert [13]. The sacrament of confession or reconciliation played a prominent role in this process [14].

The missions were duly prepared by the missionaries who, in order to do this, were obliged to devote a part of the time spent in community to study, to prayer and to the preparation of themes on which to preach.

The mission was announced beforehand in the parish to be evangelized. After a day of fasting and praying, the missionaries would generally walk to the designated place where the clergy and the people would welcome them in the context of a special ceremony. The mission was carried out by several missionaries - two at least - but generally four or five. It lasted from three to six weeks. The first days were spent in getting in touch with the local people through visiting families and inviting them to the exercises.

During the day, there were two intense periods for everyone in general. Early in the morning before people went to work in the fields, there was Mass with a catechetical teaching on the duties of Christians, the truths contained in the Creed, the commandments and the sacraments. In the evening, in a context of prayer, the major mission preaching was held; this is how it took place: recitation of the rosary, invocation of the Holy Spirit, sermon, penitential prayer, benediction of the Blessed Sacrament and the notices regarding the mission. The sermon lasted about forty-five minutes and dealt with the love and fear of God, with salvation and grace, with sin and conversion, with the four last things (death, judgment, heaven and hell) and with Mary.

During the day, there were other instructions addressed to various groups. There were two or three days of retreat for children who promoted the mission in their own families. Special sermons were addressed to young people and women, especially on Sunday when they were free from their tasks. Even the men had some instructions adapted particularly to them.

In the course of the missions, special ceremonies offered people the opportunity to pray, to learn and to reflect. In addition to the opening of the mission and its conclusion when a cross was erected in a central location in the parish, there was a ceremony for the renewal of baptismal vows or the promulgation of the law of God, a ceremony dedicated to the dead with a procession to the graveyard, and the penitential procession.

Confession was the culminating event of the conversion process. It could entail several encounters with the priest. The missionaries prepared for confession with care and made themselves available to receive penitents. They were constantly invited to pray for the conversion of sinners. In the evening, the bells were rung for ten or fifteen minutes. At that moment, the whole village was invited to kneel and pray for the conversion of sinners.

The mission also had as its objective conversion of the community and the resolution of certain social moral problems. It is thus that, in the first years following the Revolution, tribunals were established to settle the problems of goods acquired illegally. Groups and gathering places were organized to overcome common vices such as men going to bars and young people going to dances. In the months that followed, one or two missionaries would return to the place to rekindle and reaffirm the renewal brought about by the mission.

In these parish missions, we can point out certain characteristics:

- Above all, they were characterized by the fact that the Word of God was given center stage and was proclaimed in a way adapted to the people so that they could grasp it; the local dialect was used for solid sermons which could have a lasting effect.

- The mission took place in a context of faith where people called upon the grace of God through prayer; personal and community conversion was stressed. The entire parish community was involved: from priests through to the laity, from children to various categories of people. There were a number of ways of getting close to the people; they ranged from family visitation to making themselves available for hearing confessions, to preaching every day and at special ceremonies.

- The witness of the missionaries was just as important as the words they spoke. Their lifestyle, their prayer, their availability were all an integral part of the mission. Their preaching about Christ and their witness was based on their own experience of Christ.

3. FOREIGN MISSIONS, A HAPPY TURN OF EVENTS FOR THE INSTITUTE

In 1840, twenty-five years after its foundation, the Congregation was characterized by its apostolic zeal, but it was experiencing difficulty in its growth. Among its members, it counted fifty-five professed, forty of whom were priests. The members lived in six missionary communities with the addition of two other communities responsible for the major seminaries of Marseilles and Ajaccio. The accepting of foreign missions in 1841 constituted a decisive turn of events for the Congregation. It was responsible for its geographic expansion, its increase in numbers and a deepening of its evangelizing charism. Twenty years later, at the death of the Founder in 1861, the Oblates would have over four hundred members; they would be found on various continents and their average age would be 35.7 years.

The option for foreign missions was not a decision made on impulse. It was grounded in the logic of the Founder's vision and the aspirations of the Oblates. In the 1818 Rule, the first Rule, Eugene de Mazenod wrote: "They are called to be cooperators of the Savior, co-redeemers of the human race. And even though, because of their present small number and the more urgent needs of the people around them, they have to limit the scope of their zeal, for the time being, to the poor of our countryside and others, their ambition should, in its holy aspirations, embrace the vast expanse of the whole earth." [15]

From the time of the original approbation from Rome in 1826, some of Eugene de Mazenod's companions declared themselves ready to leave for the foreign missions - among whom were Fathers Domenico Albini, Hippolyte Guibert, Pascal Ricard and Jean-Joseph Touche. That is what allowed the Founder to write to Cardinal Pedicini, ponent of the cause for the approbation of the Rule: "Several members of the Congregation would willingly go and preach the Gospel to non-believers; when they will be more numerous it is possible that the superiors will send them to America, either to be of assistance to poor Catholics who are bereft of every spiritual benefit, or to win new members to the faith." [16]In 1831, the Chapter presented a motion, adopted unanimously, in which a request was made of the Superior General "that some of our members should be sent to the foreign missions when a favorable opportunity presents itself" [17]. The following year, he made an unsuccessful attempt to establish a mission in Algeria. The favorable opportunity was to emerge ten years later when the new Bishop of Montreal came to Europe to find priests, and discouraged by the failure of his endeavors, passed through Marseilles on his way to Rome. That is when he met Bishop de Mazenod. When the Congregation was consulted, a favorable response was received and action was taken.

Four priests and two brothers set sail for Montreal on October 16, 1841. That same year a foundation in England would be undertaken by the sending of Father William Daly. Four years later, the Oblates left for Western Canada and the diocese of Saint Boniface and immediately launched into their ministry to the Amerindians. In a few years they spread out over the entire expanse of the prairies and the polar region in search of tribes which were still nomadic. In 1847, two new foundations were undertaken: one in the United States on the Pacific Coast and the other in Jaffna in Ceylon, now known as Sri Lanka. In 1848, a mission was established in Algeria, a mission for which the Founder had been offering his services since 1832. In 1851, the failure of the mission in Algeria made it possible to accept a mission in Natal, a mission suggested by the Congregation of the Propaganda. In the meantime, from 1849 on, the Oblates had forged on to the Mexican border and three years later established themselves in Texas. A simple listing of the foundations is totally inadequate to reflect the daring that was called for here when we take into consideration the difficulties presented in travel and cultural integration as well as the tasks rapidly assumed in ever more extensive territories.

a. Foreign missions, a more radical understanding of the charism

In his letter missioning the first Oblates leaving for Montreal, the Founder revealed his fatherly concern and his intuition that they would be opening up a new field of apostolate and a door leading to the conquest to souls in other countries. He stressed the witness they were to give and their charity to each other.

He would soon become aware that the foreign missions were a further development of his original vision of evangelization, of the gift of self, of following the example of the Apostles, and of seeking out of the most abandoned souls [18].

In the foreign missions, evangelization was not only a question of reawakening a lapsed faith, but of communicating the faith in its most basic form. On January 8, 1847, he wrote to Father Pascal Ricard, sent to the diocese of Walla Walla in the United States: "I say nothing of how magnificent in the eyes of faith is the ministry you are going to fulfill. One must go back to the birth of Christianity to find anything comparable. It is an apostle with whom you are associated and the same marvels that were wrought by the first disciples of Jesus Christ will be renewed in our days by you, my dear children, whom Providence has chosen amongst so many others to announce the Good News to so many slaves of the demon who huddle in the darkness of idolatry and who know not God. This is truly the real apostolate which is renewed in our times. Let us thank the Lord for having been deemed worthy to be participants therein in so active a manner [...]." [19]

Four years later, he would write to the same Father Ricard: "Foreign missions compared to our missions in Europe have a special character of a higher kind, because this is the true apostolate of announcing the Good News to nations which have not yet been called to knowledge of the true God and of his Son Jesus Christ [...] This is the mission of the apostles: Euntes, docete omnes gentes! (Matthew 28:19); this teaching of the truth must penetrate to the most backward nations so that they may be regenerated in the waters of baptism. You are among those to whom Jesus Christ has addressed these words, giving you your mission as he gave their mission to the apostles who were sent to convert our fathers. From this point of view, which is a true one, there is nothing higher than your ministry [...]" [20].

The foreign missions were not a carbon copy of those being preached in France to the people overlooked by ordinary pastoral ministry. The primary focus of the foreign missions was on non-Christians to make the initial proclamation of Christ to them and to convert them to Christ.

b. The fervor of first evangelization

Ever since he met Bishop Bettachini, the Founder cherished great hopes for the mission of Jaffna. He wrote to the superior of the Jaffna mission, in a letter tinged with some impatience: "You do not give me enough details on your way of life, where you live, and your ministry. When will you begin to win over the unbelievers? Are you only on your island as parish priests of old Christians? I had always thought the idea was to convert the pagans. That is what we are made for rather than anything else. There are enough bad Christians in Europe without our having to go and look for them so far away. Give me plenty of information on this, even if all there is to report so far is hopes." [21]Two and one half years later, he would bring up the same topic again: "Be patient, and when you are able to launch an attack on idolatry, you will see that you will find less difficulty and more consolations in that work than in battling with those degenerate Christians who discourage you so much". [22]

To Bishop Jean François Allard, Vicar Apostolic of Natal, he wrote: "There is a matter for extreme concern in the lack of success of your mission to the Africans. There are few examples of such sterility. What! not a single one of those poor infidels to whom you have been sent has opened his eyes to the truth you were bringing them! I have difficulty in consoling myself over it since you were not sent to the few heretics who inhabit your towns. It is to the Africans that you have been sent, it is their conversion that the Church expects from the holy ministry she has entrusted to you. It is, therefore, to the African that you must direct all your thoughts and efforts. All our missionaries must know this and take it to heart." [23]

A few months later, he further developed the same theme in a letter to the same bishop: "I must admit, my dear Lord Bishop, that your letters still trouble me greatly. Up till now your mission is a failed mission. Frankly, one does not send a Vicar Apostolic and a fairly large number of missionaries for them to look after a few scattered settlements of old Catholics. A single missionary would have been enough to visit these Christians. It is clear that the Vicariate has been established in this area simply for the evangelization of the Africans. Now, we have already been there for several years and you are involved in something quite different. I think, to speak truthfully, that you are not fulfilling your mission and at the same time are doing all in your power to help the English colonists. [...] Elsewhere I see the Vicars Apostolic putting their hands to the plough like any other missionary, in some territories taking charge of one mission station on their own and in others exploring the country themselves and founding mission stations here and there among the pagans to whom they are sent, to which they then send missionaries to continue their work. They learn the local languages in order to carry out the ministry which is their responsibility, however difficult this study may be. In short, they are at the head of everything that zeal for the salvation of the pagans can inspire. It seems to me that you are not acting in this way and perhaps one ought to attribute the failure of your mission so far to the methods you are using." [24]

To Father Joseph Gérard who was seeking by every means possible to evangelize non-Christians, he lent his encouragement and his hope: "I take great interest in reading about what you are doing in your work for the conversion of those poor Africans who resist with a diabolic stubbornness all that your zeal prompts you to do to bring them to a knowledge of the true God and to their own sanctification. Their obstinacy is truly deplorable and must be the source of great sorrow for you. After so many years not a single conversion; it is awful! You must not lose heart because of it. The time will come when the merciful grace of God will produce a sort of explosion and your African Church will be formed. You ought perhaps to penetrate deeper among these savage tribes in order to bring this about. If you were to meet some who had not already been indoctrinated by heretics and who had had no contact with white men you would be likely to do better.Do not forget that you have been sent for the conquest of souls and remind Father Bompart of this also. You must not be unwilling to make an assault and you must pursue the enemy to his furthest hideouts. Victory is promised only to perseverance. Fortunately the reward is not measured solely by success and you need only to have worked to that end in order to achieve it." [25]These texts all show that, as far as the Founder was concerned, the object of the foreign missions was above all the evangelization of non-Christians and that the proclamation of the Word lies at the heart of the Oblate charism.

c. Missions, a radical imitation of the Apostles

Furthermore, it is through the foreign missions themselves that one can reach the most abandoned souls. To the Fathers of the Red River, the Founder wrote: "You go out from my embrace to fly to the conquest of souls and, one can truly say, of the most abandoned souls, for is it possible to find souls that are more lost than those of these poor Indians whom God has called us to evangelize, a priceless privilege? I am well aware of the sacrifices, the privations, the torments that you have to pass through to obtain the results that you seek, and it is this that weighs so heavily on my heart, but what will your merit be before God if, faithful to your vocation, you become the instruments of his mercies towards these poor infidels whom you are rescuing from the grasp of the devil who had made them his prey, and if in this way you extend the Kingdom of Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth!" [26]

It was in the context of the missions of first evangelization that the ideal of total gift of oneself as described in the Preface of the Rule found its highest expression. Bishop de Mazenod wrote to Father Augustin Maisonneuve: "The tiniest detail of what concerns you interests and touches me. How could I be insensitive to the sufferings that you are enduring to extend the Kingdom of Jesus Christ and to respond to your beautiful vocation, which has called you to the most meritorious mission that I know. There is no doubt that you are buying souls at the price of your own blood, you, the first apostles of those souls whom God wishes to save by means of your ministry." [27]

On January 26, 1854, the Founder wrote the following to Father Joseph-Alexandre Ciamin, seriously ill in Jaffna: "If the good Lord calls you to himself, what does it matter whether it is through the arrows of the infidel, death inflicted by a torturer, or the little fire of sickness contracted in the exercise of the great ministry of preaching the gospel and calling souls to sanctity? The martyr who dies for charity will be rewarded no less than he who dies for the faith." [28]

The Founder sees the Oblates as imitators of the Apostles through their option of choosing to follow Christ and through the ministry of the word to which they consecrated themselves. In the work of first evangelization, conformity to the Apostles seems even more radical to him because it is rooted in faith. [29] Expressing his admiration for what Father Henry Faraud had endured so as to conquer souls for Christ, he replies: "One has to go back to the first preaching of Saint Peter to find anything similar. An apostle like him, sent to proclaim the Good News to those savage nations, the first man to speak to them of God, to bring them to knowledge of Jesus the Savior, to show them the way that leads to salvation, to give them rebirth in the holy waters of baptism - one can only prostrate oneself before you, so privileged are you among your brothers in the Church of God by reason of the choice that he has made of you to work these miracles." [30]

Two years later, he wrote again to Father Faraud: "I know that you are offering all your sufferings to God for the salvation of those poor lost souls whom you are leading by grace to the knowledge of the truth, to the love of Jesus Christ, and to eternal salvation. It is this that consoles me most of all when I consider that you have been chosen as the first apostles to proclaim the good news to nations which without you would have never known God... It is wonderful, it is magnificent to be able to apply in so real a way the beautiful words of the Master Elegi vos ut eatis(Jn 15,16).What a vocation!" [31]

On the same topic, he wrote to the missionaries of Ile-à-la-Crosse: "My dear children, I think of you as true apostles. You have been chosen by our divine Savior to be the first to go and announce the good news of salvation to the poor Indian people who, before you arrived among them, were wallowing under the power of the devil in the thickest darkness. You are doing among them what the first apostles of the Gospel did among the nations that were known in earlier times. This is a privilege that has been reserved for you, and it makes your merit, if you are well aware of the sublime character of your mission, like that of the first apostles, propagators of the teachings of Jesus Christ. For the love of God, be sure that you do not lose even the tiniest jewel in your crown!" [32]

4. DARING IN THE FACE OF NEW CHALLENGES

Eugene de Mazenod did not allow himself to be restricted by preconceived plans. A man of grand desires and of healthy realism, he sought the will of God for his personal life and for the direction of his Congregation. He was not lacking in prudence, but it was his daring which characterized him even more. Within the clearly defined limits of proclaiming the Word of God in order to make Christ known through parish and foreign missions he knew how to face new challenges, which became an opportunity for him to broaden his field of apostolic action. He was receptive to new suggestions from bishops and fellow Oblates, and after an appropriate period of discernment, was able to give them his support.

When he founded the Aix community, his intention was to dedicate himself to missions in the Archdiocese of his origins. Two years later, when the Bishop of Digne offered him the shrine of Notre Dame du Laus, he prayed to God and consulted his fellow Oblates. His memoirs record: "Everyone was of this opinion and they asked me to take matters in hand seriously and swiftly to prepare the constitutions and rules that they would require" [33]. With the acceptance of this shrine, the Congregation experienced its first move to expand; it adopted a rule, a kind of religious life and it became open to ministry in Marian shrines. In the latter "we carry on a perpetual mission and in addition to that we spread devotion to the Virgin" [34], as the Founder wrote in his acts of visitation to the shrine of Notre-Dame de l'Osier, on July 16, 1835. The shrines provided ideal locations from which the Oblates were able to circulate throughout the region to preach parish missions from November to Easter. In the summer season, they received pilgrims there.

From the beginning, the forlorn state of the clergy both moved and irritated the Founder. In order to respond to this need in a positive way, he chose the priesthood and then founded a community of missionaries, who, according to the first Rule, was to collaborate in reforming the clergy by welcoming priests and preaching retreats for them. The staffing of seminaries was excluded from their purposes. But as a consequence of a positive opinion expressed by the 1824 Chapter and especially in the light of encouragement received from Rome in 1825-1826, he looked favorably upon the staffing of seminaries. He saw it as something closely related to the main end of the Congregation: the evangelization of the poor. The Founder would accept to take on the direction of five seminaries in France, one in the United States and would offer to take over two others. In the year following his death, however, there would remain only two seminaries under the direction of Oblates.

In their apostolate, the missionaries gave preference to the rural poor. That is how the Oblates began their apostolate in England, by ministering to small Catholic communities under the protection of some nobility, and from there they reached out to the Anglicans. But when in the aftermath of the potato famine of 1848-1849, hordes of Irish Catholics flocked to the industrial centers, the Founder encouraged the Oblates to take care of them in the cities. In this way, the focus shifted from ministry to the farming people in the rural areas to the immigrant workers concentrated in the urban areas. He then wrote to Father Casimir Aubert: "I had thought it was understood that you were to establish yourselves in the big city of Manchester, just as you were proposing to do at Liverpool. I am most concerned that you be able to establish yourselves in big cities where there is much good to do though you must be in a place of your own. [35]" In Canada, he encouraged the Oblates to establish themselves in Montreal, Quebec City and Bytown (the future city of Ottawa). What was of particular interest to him was not the place, but the people, especially those who were in need of evangelization.

Similarly, new challenges were offered through the assistance offered to the seasonal workers in the lumber camps of Canada and, later on, the care given to settler families who set off to colonize the land. It was the Founder's wish to evangelize those most in need. All the more so, he encouraged the evangelization of the Amerindians in spite of the sacrifices, the travel and the loneliness this entailed. He did not want them to let any opportunity pass them by. When Father Jean-Baptiste Honorat was hesitating about accepting the foundation of Bytown he received this letter: "You certainly need to be enterprising if you are called to the conquest of souls. I was fuming at finding myself 2000 leagues from you and unable to make my voice reach you in less than two months... This was not something tentative to be tried. You had to go there with the firm resolve to stay, to take root there! How could you hesitate? What more beautiful mission than this! Ministry in the lumber camps, missions to the Indians, an establishment in a city which is wholly of the future. But it is the beautiful dream coming true and you would have let it escape! The thought makes me shiver! Take all your courage in your hands once more and establish yourself there properly. Urge each one to do his duty. It is only thus you will bring upon yourselves the blessing of God." [36]

The Texas mission accepted in 1852 presented still other challenges. The Catholic population, deprived of priests and scattered over an immense territory, needed pastors. Consequently, the Oblates accepted parishes that would become centers of evangelization and bases from which to travel throughout the area, that is, permanent missions - as Father Augustin Gaudet called them on August 28, 1858. An historian described the situation in this way: "At that time, we had residences with parishes in Brownsville and Roma and, for a time, at Matamoros and Ciudad Victoria in Mexico. But one was more certain of finding an Oblate from Texas on horseback traveling the sandy plains, wearing a large sombrero and carrying with him a portable altar." [37]

5. THE FOUNDER'S VISION
Eugene de Mazenod made definite apostolic choices to which he remained faithful in his leadership of the Congregation. His choices were not based on abstract considerations, but rather on a deep faith which took into account the contemporary needs of the Church, through the vision of Christ as his point of departure. It was his desire to collaborate in the salvation of the most abandoned souls by proclaiming the Word of God and through the witness of a consecrated life.

a. To respond to the needs of the Church

Experiencing exile, repatriation, then being a seminarian in the context of persecution and, finally, being a zealous priest working outside parish structures, Eugene was refined in his way of looking at society and the Church. As he wrote to his mother in 1809, he became a priest in order "to help this good Mother who is almost in desperation" [38], "this poor Church, so horribly abandoned, despised, trampled underfoot and which, nevertheless, has begotten all of us in Jesus Christ [...] the Spouse of Jesus Christ, whom this Divine Master brought into existence by the shedding of his blood" [39]. It was in view of the needs of the Church that he would make the particular choice of his ministry and that he would found his Institute. But his view of the Church is a vision of the mystery of his own relationship with Christ, as well as the vision of the Church's abandoned state caused by the ignorance of the masses and by the clergy's lack of concern, a Church often subjected to persecution. It is of this Church that he has perceived the urgent needs. [40]

b. Like Christ, the Evangelizer, whose co-workers we are

To respond to the needs of the Church, he looks to the conduct of Christ. "How, indeed, did our Lord Jesus Christ proceed when he undertook to convert the world? He chose a number of apostles and disciples whom he himself trained in piety, and he filled them with his Spirit. These men he sent forth [...] to conquer the world [...]." [41]

The Founder grasped the role of the evangelizer from Christ. That is the specific nature of his charism as expressed in his motto: "He has sent me to bring the good news to the poor [...] The Good News is proclaimed to the poor" (Luke 4:18; Matthew 11:5). It is in this particular manner that he wants to follow the route traced out by Christ. [42] Surveying the Congregation's history in the light of the Rule, he wrote in his retreat notes of 1831: "Will we ever have an adequate notion of this sublime vocation? For this, we must understand the excellence of our Institute's end. The latter is beyond doubt the most perfect that could be proposed here below, since the end of our Institute is the very same as that which the Son of God had in view when he came on this earth, namely, the glory of his heavenly Father and the salvation of souls. Venit enim filius hominis quaerere et salvum facere quod perierat (Luke 19:10). He was especially sent to preach the Gospel to the poor, Evangelizare pauperibus misit me, and we have been founded precisely to work for the conversion of souls, and particularly to preach the Gospel to the poor. [...] The means we use to achieve this end share its excellence. They are unquestionably the most perfect, since they are the very same ones used by our divine Savior, his Apostles, and Disciples, namely, the strict practice of the evangelical counsels, preaching and prayer, a happy blend of the active and contemplative life, of which Jesus Christ and the Apostles have given us the example. By this very fact, this is beyond any doubt the culminating point of the perfection which God has given us the grace to accept, and of which our Rules are only the development [...]." [43]

Eugene de Mazenod was a man "passionately dedicated to Jesus Christ", as Pope Paul VI characterized him on the occasion of his beatification. His Good Friday experience, probably in 1807, was the culmination of a conversion process and the beginning of a life totally dedicated to Him in a continuous progression toward Him.

It is through evangelization of the poor and the commitment to become saints that we become cooperators with Jesus Christ. In a difficult time of trial, he wrote to his community from Paris: "Our Lord Jesus Christ has left us the task of continuing the great work of the redemption of mankind. It is towards this unique end that all our efforts must tend; as long as we will not have spent our whole life and given all our blood to achieve this, we can say nothing; especially when as yet we have given only a few drops of sweat and a few spells of fatigue. This spirit of being wholly devoted to the glory of God, the service of the Church and the salvation of souls, is the spirit that is proper to our Congregation, a small one, to be sure, but which will always be powerful as long as she is holy." [44] In the first Rule, he had written: "They are called to be cooperators of the Savior, the co-redeemers of the human race". [45]

c. Especially through the ministry of the Word

From Christ's response to the needs of the Church was born the Founder's vision and undertaking: the evangelization of the poor. It was through missions within the country for Christian groups of the most abandoned, and even more through the foreign missions for the non-Christians, that this evangelization was realized. Both forms communicate to people who Christ is and lead them to him. Proclamation of the Word of God is the preferred means for leading people to conversion. [46]

It is from meditation on the Scripture and from its assimilation in prayer and from the relationship with Christ that the proclamation of the Word has to flow. It is done in the name of the Church. "[The missions] are nothing other than the exercise of the power to teach bestowed by Jesus Christ on his Church; when one realizes that the priests who conduct these missions [...] are sent by the bishops, who in turn are sent by Jesus Christ [...] [these missions] are the legitimate preaching of the Word of God to instruct and convert souls [...] they are the very preaching that Jesus Christ had prescribed for his apostles and which they brought about all over the universe." [47]

Experience shows the effectiveness of the action of the Spirit in the direct proclamation of the Word: "You have realized, as we have, that the entire success of our endeavors is due to his grace and to his grace alone. Grace penetrates hearts while our words reach the ears. Herein lies the vast difference between our preaching and the sermons, from other aspects infinitely superior, of the great-occasion preachers. Miracles multiply at the sound of the missionary's voice and the prodigious number of conversions is so striking that the poor instrument of these marvels is the first to be amazed: as he blesses God and rejoices, he humbles himself because of his own insignificance and nothingness. What an approval these miracles are! Have there ever been greater miracles than those which occur during missions, than those you have worked yourself?" [48]

That is why preaching should go hand in hand with confidence in the grace of God and prayer. The Founder wrote to Father Jean-Joseph Magnan conducting a mission at Brignoles: " Come on! When you are sent in the name of the Lord, leave aside, once and for all, all these human considerations, the result of a poorly disguised pride and of a lack of trust in the grace of Jesus Christ, whose instruments you have indeed been for so many years. Should you deserve to have this divine grace withdrawn from your ministry, then you would have reason to dread the people's judgment; as long as it abides with you, however, you will convert the people by your simple sermons which are unpretentious but inspired by the spirit of God, who does not operate by way of circuitous phrases and the flowery language of orators [...]." [49]

Along with this confidence in God and prayer, proper preparation is still required. In his Acts of Visitation of England, the Founder wrote: "It is by preaching, accompanied with prayer, that you will introduce the light into men's minds. The world is disposed to hear you, you need only speak in the proper manner and in this you cannot succeed but by study." [50] He wrote to Father Marc de L'Hermite in accordance with the Rule: "I also urge everyone of you: do not neglect study. [...] Do not pursue what is brilliant but what is solid, what can be understood by everyone in your audience, what is instructive and conducive to lasting conversions. This advice is meant not only for you but for everyone, for the greater good." [51]

d. Through the witnessing of a consecrated life

The ministry of preaching should go hand in hand with the witness of an exemplary life. That is what he wrote in his memoirs: "I have said that my intention in dedicating myself to the ministry of the missions to work especially for the instruction and conversion of the most abandoned souls, was to follow the example of the Apostles in their life of devotedness and self-denial. I became convinced that, in order to obtain the same results from our preaching, we had to walk in their footsteps and as far as we could, practise the same virtues. Hence I considered choosing the evangelical counsels, to which they had been so faithful, as indispensable, lest our words be no more than what I have often noticed about the words of those who proclaim the same truths, namely sounding brass and tinkling cymbals. My consistent thought has always been that our little family should consecrate itself to God and to the service of the Church through the vows of religion [...]." [52]

Only apostolic men can evangelize with success. The practice of the evangelical counsels, faithfulness to the Rule, community life in obedience and charity, the life of faith and prayer are essential for the one who wants to be a genuine missionary.

6. RESPONSE OF THE OBLATES TO THE VISION OF THE FOUNDER
A Congregation receives its charism from the Holy Spirit; this charism is mediated to it through its founder. All those who share in this charism have their own impact on it, especially those persons who played important roles in the early days of the Institute. Because they lived close to the Founder and because of their influence on the Institute as a whole, Oblates like Fathers Henry Tempier, Casimir Aubert, Hippolyte Guibert, Domenico Albini and Joseph Gérard have made a contribution in shaping the charism.

An historian wrote: "In this evolution, we can distinguish four driving forces: practical living at the grassroots level, the leadership and direction of the Founder who was also Superior General, decisions of the General Chapter, and the codification of these main decisions in the Rule". [53] During his lifetime, Eugene de Mazenod knew how to keep his hand on the helm of the Congregation, while being conscious that he was interpreting its spirit and purpose.

The Oblates would soldier on in the wake of the Founder, sometimes in a more inflexible manner than his. They shared his outlook and his involvement in parish missions and foreign missions, all of these efforts directed toward evangelization of the most poor and insignificant. This is well illustrated by the studies made in preparation for the congress on evangelization. [54] The spread of the Oblates to the various continents, the diversity of contexts, and an increase in personnel were at the basis of the accepting of new ministries and other responsibilities to answer new challenges. However, the orientation towards the evangelization of the poor has remained unchanged and the new initiatives drew their inspiration from the experience of parish missions. It can be said that it was evangelization of the poor through the means of the proclamation of the word that was the common priority of the Oblates who were contemporaries of the Founder.

In this regard, the response of the Oblates of France was characteristic. [55] Among them there was a "common inclination" in favor of home and foreign missions. Even if he was not a skillful preacher, Father Tempier was an ardent defender of the missions and when he was in charge, he almost exaggerated in the demands he made on the priests. The twenty-four houses founded in France under the direction of the Founder were dedicated to mission work. Marian shrines accepted at this time were also involved in this kind of preaching. The common sentiment among the Oblates in this regard ran so deep that it was only with hesitation that secondary ministries were accepted. That is how it happened that when Father Toussaint Dassy was asked by the Founder to do some Lenten preaching in order to make the Congregation known in new dioceses, he replied by expressing his preference for parish missions. Parish ministry was not easily accepted. Father Melchior Burfin obtained Father Tempier's support in his request to the Founder to release his community from parish obligations in the diocese of Limoges. Although formation ministry gradually became one of the ends of the Congregation, it was not sought after by men as holy as Fathers Albini and Guibert. In 1840, when he was superior of the seminary in Ajaccio, Father Albini wrote to the Founder: "I was happy to be able to leave aside my usual duties to take up once again a ministry which is only a memory for me. I felt real joy in being able to return to our apostolate, and even if my delicate health prevented me from plunging into the work with all the ardor I wished, I would ask you a thousand times to send me back to the poor that Jesus Christ has given us to evangelize." [56] Twenty years later, Father Antoine Andric, a professor in the same seminary of Ajaccio wrote to Father Tempier: "The missions had always been the object of my desires [...]" [57] It was because of the general preference for the preaching of missions that youth apostolate, even if it was undertaken in view of evangelizing the poor, fell into disuse among the Oblates, while the Founder encouraged other institutes to take charge of this work. [58]

It was in the same spirit that new challenges were faced in England as they arose in different situations. [59] Initially it was the support received from some Catholic nobles which enabled the Oblates to take care of small rural Catholic communities and to turn their attention to the conversion of the Anglicans. With the arrival of large numbers of Irish, the Oblates settled down in the cities of Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds. Their apostolate targeted poor needy immigrants who were open to their pastoral care. The Founder's preference was for centers from which the Oblates could reach out to an entire city rather than parishes, but concrete needs led him to accept the second, less desirable solution. This shows us his adaptability in realizing his vision - as long as Christ was proclaimed to the poor.

In Sri Lanka, the work of evangelization did not develop according to the expectations of Eugene de Mazenod in spite of the quality of the men he had sent. [60] It was the Founder's wish to evangelize and bring the Hindus and the Buddhists to conversion, and he expressed his impatience when he raised this point again with Father Étienne Semeria and other Oblates working on the island. [61] He did not let the opportunity escape to express his joy when Father Constant Chouvanel obtained some results with the Buddhists. [62] Perhaps he was aware of the difficulty of conversions in an Asian context. There, through parish missions, the Oblates obtained more success in reorganizing the Christian communities.

The Founder showed his satisfaction with the response of the Oblates in Canada in the evangelization of the poor. [63] Parish missions were organized with success among French speaking Catholics, and the same approach was adopted in the lumber camp ministry. Evangelization of the still-nomadic Amerindians moved forward rapidly with success and heroism, to the extent that it drew the deep and lasting admiration of the Bishop of Marseilles: "A heavenly mission it is and we can hardly thank the Lord enough for having confided it to us." [64] A few years later, he wrote to this same priest: "It must be admitted that this mission to the Indians of Hudson Bay is more than purely natural strength can endure. Ceaseless miraculous aid is necessary if a man is not to succumb in it." [65]

In the Canadian West the mission experienced perhaps even greater difficulties from the beginning, but its development was even more typical. The missions of the Canadian North rapidly became the symbol of missionary heroism. Father Henry Grollier, who died from exhaustion at thirty-eight years of age while seeking out a group of Amerindians and Inuit, exclaimed: "The glory of God has been the only motivating factor for my actions during my life, if it is for the greater glory of God that I should depart from this earth, I do so gladly." His companion, Father Jean Séguin added: "The glory of God and the salvation of souls was the exclusive goal of his life and it was also the subject of his ravings when he was delirious." [66] Bishop Alexandre Taché wrote to his mother: "What a consolation it is, dear Mother, to see God loved and served in these places where ten years ago his supreme existence was, so to speak, unknown... How can you ever suppose that I would not be happy to be a missionary." [67] The missionaries did not only seek to evangelize by making the Lord known, they built schools, and facilitated contacts between the Amerindians and the European colonists. But the salvation of souls through evangelization was the goal for which they would risk anything. Bishop Taché wrote to one of his confreres: "This mission is not very imposing as far as the number of Indians involved, but even if there was only one, was not his soul bought at the price of all the blood of our Savior, and can the missionary, then, hesitate to come to their aid." [68]

It was through the preaching of parish missions, using Canada as a base, that the Oblates established contacts in the United States. The first permanent foundation in Oregon in 1848 was with the Amerindians. The founding of the Texas mission followed shortly after. Special attention was paid to the Spanish speaking population, by carrying out an itinerant ministry which reached right to the Mexican border. In a very typical decision, the Oblates withdrew from the two dioceses in Oregon because the bishops did not acknowledge that the missionaries were religious. In the same manner, they withdrew from Saint Mary's College when it ceased to be a seminary. [69]


[1] First letter of the Founder to Father Tempier, October 9, 1815, in Selected Texts, no. 2, p. 17.
[2] A request addressed to the Vicars General of Aix for authorization to set up a community in that city, January 25, 1816, ibidem, no. 5, p. 23.
[3] Letter to Abbé Tempier, October 9, 1815, ibidem, no. 2, p. 17 & 18.
[4] Ibidem, no. 5, p. 23 & 25.
[5] Preface of the 1826 Constitutions and Rules, ibidem, no. 1, p. 15 &16.
[6] Letter to Mgr. Adinolfi, December 23, 1825, ibidem, no.39, p. 63 & 64.
[7] "Lettre apostolique approuvant notre famille religieuse", in Missions, 60 (1926), p. 318-319.
[8] See "Petition to Pope Leo XII, December 8, 1825", in Selected Texts, no. 110, p. 132-133.
[9] TOURIGNY, Irénée, Synopsis Constitutionum et Regularum Oblatorum Sanctissimae et Immaculatae Virginis Mariae, edition, 1826, 1853, 1928, 1966, Rome, 1970
[10] See PIELORZ, Jósef, Les Chaptires généraux au temps du Fondateur, Ottawa, Oblate Studies Edition, 1968, p. 116.
[11] YENVEUX, Alfred, Les saintes Règles de la Congrégation des Missionnaires Oblats de Marie Immaculée, Paris, 1903; see a few of these texts in Selected Texts, nos. 119-132, p. 142-156.
[12] See FITZPATRICK, James, Oblate Traditions in the Parish Missions, Rome, 1992, p. 8. The original 1818 Rule contains a detailed deion of the manner of conducting missions. In Chapter 2, contains 82 articles; see: "Un ancien manuscrit des saintes Règles" [Honorat manu], Part One, Chapter two in Etudes oblates, 2 (1943), p. [6-15]. In the Constitutions and Rules of 1928, these regulations were kept. See POUPARD, P., "Le Père de Mazenod et les premières missions des Missionaires de Provence (1816-1823)", in XIXe siècle, siècle de grâce, Paris, 1982, p. 65-98. AUDRUGER, Alexander, Directoire pour les Missions à l'usage des Missionnaires Oblats de Marie Immaculée, Tours, Mame, 1881, 286 p. Bishop de Mazenod's pastoral letter on this subject is noteworthy, Instruction pastorale et Mandement de Monseigneur l'évêque de Marseille sur les Missions à l'occasion du Carême, February 14, 1844, 26 p.
[13] See Selected Texts, nos. 120, 122-124, 127, 129, 132, 321, 453.
[14] See Selected Texts, nos. 134-137, 140, 175.
[15] Constitutions and Rules of 1818: Part One, Chapter One, par. 3, Nota bene, in Missions, 78 (1951), p. 15; also, Selected Texts, no. 143, p. 170 &171.
[16] Letter to Cardinal Pedicini, January 2, 1826 in Selected Texts, no. 144, p. 172.
[17] 1831 Chapter in PIELORZ, Józef, Les Chapitres généraux au temps du Fondateur, Ottawa, Oblate Studies Edition, 1968, vol. I, p. 104.
[18] In Selected Texts, can be found a few of the many testimonials written by Eugene de Mazenod, see nos. 145-164. Also, SANTOLINI, Giovanni, Evangelizzazione e Missione, Bologna, 1984; HENKEL, Wilhelm, "L'esprit et le coeur du Bienheureux Eugène de Mazenod à la lumière de l'instruction sur les missions étrangères", in Vie Oblate Life, 36 (1977), p. 173-185.
[19] In Selected Texts, no. 145, p. 173.
[20] December 6, 1851, letter in Selected Texts, no. 151, p. 177-178.
[21] Letter to Father Étienne Semeria, February 21, 1849 in Selected Texts, no. 148, p. 175.
[22] Letter to Father Semeria, September 19, 1851, ibidem, no. 150, p. 177.
[23] Letter to Bishop Jean FrançoisAllard, May 30, 1857, ibidem, no. 158, p. 184.
[24] November 10, 1857 letter in Selected Texts, no. 159, p. 185 & 186.
[25] September 4, 1860 letter, ibidem, no. 164, p. 192-193.
[26] June 28, 1855 letter, in Selected Texts, no. 154, p. 179-180.
[27] March 13, 1857 letter, in Selected Texts, no. 155, p. 181.
[28] In Oblate Writings, I, vol. 4, p. 118.
[29] SANTOLINI, Giovanni, Evangelizzazione e Missione, p. 99-104.
[30] May 28, 1857 letter in Selected Texts, no. 157, p. 183-184.
[31] December 9, 1859 letter to Fathers Henry Faraud and Isidore Clut in Selected Texts, no. 161, p. 188-189.
[32] April 17, 1860 letter to Fathers Valentine Végreville and Julian Moulin in Selected Texts, no. 163, p. 191.
[33] In RAMBERT, I, p. 282.
[34] Quoted in BEAUDOIN, Yvon, "Les réponses des Oblats de France à la vision et à la pratique de l'évangélisation du Fondateur", in Vie Oblate Life, 42 (1983), p. 148.
[35] January 19, 1850 letter inOblate Writings, I, vol. 3, no. 35, p. 49-50.
[36] March 1, 1844 letter in Selected Texts, no. 71, p. 93.
[37] DOYON, Bernard, "L'évangélisation: la réponse des Oblats à l'appel du Fondateur", in Vie Oblate Life, 42 (1983), p. 246.
[38] February 28, 1809 letter in Selected Texts, no. 44, p. 67.
[39] October 11, 1809 letter, ibidem, no. 46, p. 69; see "The Service of the Church", ibidem, nos. 44-51, p. 67-75.
[40] See "Urgent Needs of the Church", in Selected Texts, nos. 193-195, p. 217-219.
[41] Preface of the Constitutions and Rules, p. 11.
[42] See Lumen Gentium, no. 46.
[43] Retreat notes of October 8, 1831 in Selected Texts, no. 9, p. 31-32.
[44] Letter to Father Tempier, August 22, 1817 in Selected Texts, no. 7, p. 29-30.
[45] 1818 Constitutions and Rules: Part One, Chapter One, par. 3, Nota bene, in Missions, 78 (1951), p. 15.
[46] LAMIRANDE, Emilien, "L'annonce de la parole de Dieu selon Mgr de Mazenod", in Etudes oblates, 18 (1959), p. 105-126; ZAGO, Marcello, "Connection between Popular Missions and the Charism of the Institute", in Vie Oblate Life, 39 (1981), p. 155-185.
[47] Lenten pastoral letter, February 2, 1839, quoted in LAMIRANDE, Emilien, "L'annonce de la parole de Dieu selon Mgr de Mazenod", in Etudes oblates, 18 (1959), p. 118.
[48] Letter to Father Vincens, January 17, 1835 in Selected Texts, no. 124, p. 147.
[49] March 8, 1844 letter in Selected Texts, no. 127, p. 150.
[50] Act of Visitation of the Province of England, Maryvale, July 22, 1850 in Selected Texts, no. 128, p. 152.
[51] August 17, 1852 letter in Selected Texts, no. 129, p. 153.
[52] The Founder's Memoirs about 1845, in Selected Texts, no. 16, p. 39.
[53] PIELORZ, Jósef, "Les chapitres généraux de 1818 à 1861 et l'évangélisation", in Vie Oblate Life, 42 (1983), p. 282.
[54] "Actes du congrès sur les Oblats et l'évangélisation" in Vie Oblate Life, 42 (1983), p. 99-394.
[55] See BEAUDOIN, Yvon, "Les réponses des Oblats de France à la vision et à la pratique de l'évangélisation du Fondateur", in Vie Oblate Life, 42 (1983), p. 141-161.
[56] Ibidem, p. 156.
[57] Ibidem, p. 158.
[58] See BEAUDOIN, Yvon, "Le Fondateur et les jeunes", in Vie Oblate Life, 36 (1977), p. 135-149.
[59] See COOPER, Austin, "La réponse de la province anglaise à la vision et à la pratique de Mgr de Mazenod", in Vie Oblate Life, 42 (1983), p. 163-182; BEAUDOIN, Yvon, Le père Casimir Aubert, 1810-1860, Rome, Oblate General Postulation, 1993.
[60] See BOUDENS, Robrecht, "Le travail d'évangélisation des Oblats à Ceylan au 19e siècle", in Vie Oblate Life, 42 (1983), p. 183-192.
[61] See Oblate Writings, I, vol. 4, nos. 11, 14, 23, 30.
[62] Letter to Bishop Semeria, October 10, 1857, ibidem, no. 44, p. 139.
[63] See CARRIERE, Gaston, "La réponse des Oblats de l'Ouest canadien à la perception de la 'mission' chez Mgr de Mazenod", in Vie Oblate Life, 42 (1983), p. 193-213; BOUCHER, Romuald, "L'évangélisation et les Oblats de l'Est du Canada", ibidem, p. 215-229.
[64] Letter to Father Guigues, September 25, 1844 in Oblate Writings I, vol. I, no. 47, p. 106.
[65] January 10, 1851 letter in Oblate Writings I, vol. 2, no. 137, p. 3.
[66] Quoted in CARRIERE, Gaston, "La réponse des Oblats de l'Ouest canadien à la perception de la 'mission' chez Mgr de Mazenod", in Vie Oblate Life, 42 (1983), P. 207.
[67] January 4, 1856 letter, ibidem, p. 207.
[68] April 16, 1848 letter, ibidem, p. 208.
[69] See LEVASSEUR, Donat, Histoire des Missionnaires Oblats de Marie Immaculée, Montreal, 1983, vol. I, p. 138-147; DOYON, Bernard, "L'évangélisation: la réponse des Oblats à l'appel du Fondateur, (la région des Etats-Unis - la Province du sud)", in Vie Oblate Life, 42 (1983), p. 241 s; MENARD, Clarence C., "Les Oblats et l'évangélisation aux Etats-Unis, la période des débuts (1842-1883)", ibidem, p. 159-271.

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